Archive for the ‘SecondLife’ Category
Dr. Michael Wesch is the guy behind “The Machine is Us/ing us” video. His recent presentation to the Library of Congress entitled “An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube,” is now available on video. If you have seen any of Dr. Wesch’s other presentations, you know that he both deeply understands new media and its impact on the world’s cultures, and has a gift for communicating that understanding in compelling and engaging ways. This presentation is no exception.
Wesch points out that YouTube is much more than a technology. “It’s a social space built around video communication that is searchable, taggable and mashable,” Wesch says. “It is a space where identities, values and ideas are produced, reproduced, challenged and negotiated in new ways.”
Wesch covers a lot of ground in the hour long video. I’m not going to give a detailed summary here (I’ve included the time index from the YouTube page for reference below), but I highly recommend that you take some time (55 minutes 33 seconds to be exact) and watch it. You’ll be glad you did!
You may also want to check out Gavin Heaton’s very insightful post about this video.
Here is the time index:
0:00 Introduction, YouTube’s Big Numbers
2:00 Numa Numa and the Celebration of Webcams
5:53 The Machine is Us/ing Us and the New Mediascape
12:16 Introducing our Research Team
12:56 Who is on YouTube?
13:25 What’s on Youtube? Charlie Bit My Finger, Soulja Boy, etc.
17:04 5% of vids are personal vlogs addressed to the YouTube community, Why?
17:30 YouTube in context. The loss of community and “networked individualism” (Wellman)
18:41 Cultural Inversion: individualism and community
19:15 Understanding new forms of community through Participant Observation
21:18 YouTube as a medium for community
23:00 Our first vlogs
25:00 The webcam: Everybody is watching where nobody is (“context collapse”)
26:05 Re-cognition and new forms of self-awareness (McLuhan)
27:58 The Anonymity of Watching YouTube: Haters and Lovers
29:53 Aesthetic Arrest
30:25 Connection without Constraint
32:35 Free Hugs: A hero for our mediated culture
34:02 YouTube Drama: Striving for popularity
34:55 An early star: emokid21ohio
36:55 YouTube’s Anthenticity Crisis: the story of LonelyGirl15
39:50 Reflections on Authenticity
41:54 Gaming the system / Exposing the System
43:37 Seriously Playful Participatory Media Culture (featuring Us by blimvisible: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_yxHKg…
47:32 Networked Production: The Collab. MadV’s “The Message” and the message of YouTube
49:29 Poem: The Little Glass Dot, The Eyes of the World
51:15 Conclusion by bnessel1973
52:50 Dedication and Credits (Our Numa Numa dance)
Looks like Circuit City is finally developing the four island Second Life estate that was purchased back in May ’07. As some of you may know, I was in charge of the Second Life project before my job was cut, so I’m really interested to see if what they build follows the strategy that I proposed.
IBM developed a Circuit City store on IBM10 last December which generated a good deal of press, but like most corporate sims, its usually empty now. The store was never really intended to be a permanent home for Circuit in Second Life. It was primarily for demonstration purposes to allow IBM to showcase what could be done for retailers in SL. The content of the store has not changed at all in the last six months and there has been no effort to develop community engagement at the store, primarily due to contractual hurdles with IBM (its their island).
As a starting point for planning a larger SL presence for Circuit City, I did extensive research on early real world brand entries, speaking with counterparts in other companies as well as marketers, branding experts and others. It didn’t take long for me to come to the same conclusion of many prominent Virtual World observers:
Most real world brands just didn’t understand how to approach the medium.
It would not be appropriate to reveal details of the strategy I proposed as Circuit has not done so and it may not be what they are going with in the end. I will say that the strategy leveraged lessons learned from other real brand builds and was specifically designed to promote engagement on several levels. I have not been in contact with anyone from Circuit since I left, but from the 30,000 ft. view on the map display, they seem to be close to an announcement.
This should be a twitter, but the WordPress guys haven’t jomped on that bandwagon. Anyway, long day at the Virtual Worlds ’07 conference, but well worth the trip. Too tired to write about it now, but will provide an update tomorrow.
In the meantime, if you want to see a pretty cool and unexpected corporate build in SecondLife, check out Pontiac’s Motorati Island
If you were not able to get a pass to the sold-out Virtual Worlds ’07 conference in NYC, you are missing out on a great experience. Compared to other conferences I have attended, this small and intimate gathering is great opportunity to network and to have conversations with some to the early movers and shakers in the virtual world space.
Just about everyone you would want to speak with is here and most of them are participating in panel discussions. Highlights from today’s session (with links to blogs from other attendees who took better notes than I did):
Phillip Rosedale confessed that his thinking about virtual worlds has changed from being focused on the physics of it, to the realization that it’s the social interaction that’s so powerful. (GregVerdino2.0)
Second Life Technology VP Joe Miller disclosed:
- We’ll be open-sourcing the back end so sims can run anywhere on any machine whether trusted by us or not.
- We’ll be delivering assets in a totally different method that won’t be such a burden on the simulators.
- Very soon we’ll be updating simulators to support multiple versions so that we don’t have to update the entire Grid at once.
- We’ll be using open protocols.
- SL cannot truly succeed as long as one company controls the Grid.
MTV Networks announced a number of new expansions, building on their successful Virtual Laguna Beach and Virtual Hills. First up, Virtual Pimp My Ride set in the home of the fast and furious crowd, Van Nuys, CA.
In the afternoon, there was a great discussion on virtual world consumer behaviors and the evolution of social networking.
More to come after tomorrow’s session.
I have several official and unofficial jobs at Circuit City. One of the “official” ones is that I am heading up our entry into the virtual world of SecondLife. Partnering with IBM, we have a “demonstration store” on one of IBM’s islands. It’ was in no way designed to be a compelling SecondLife experience, but was intended to be an interesting device to show the “art of the possible” to our executives. The “store” has been up for a little over 3 months and we are starting the process of envisioning the second generation experience.
Our IBM partners told us that our competitors from Minneapolis were inquiring about SecondLife at January’s CES. Today, I saw that Geeksquad island has opened in SecondLife. That’s a fast implementation and points out the strength of BestBuy’s Sense & Respond capability, but the big story here is something else entirely.
Looking at the Geek Squad SecondLife announcement page, I came to a realization about the different marketing approaches for Geek Squad and firedog. For months, I’ve been trying to figure out why I didn’t feel comfortable with the firedog brand. Today it hit me.
In today’s “experience economy”, it’s not enough to simply make your products and services available. To win in this market, you need to be able to tell compelling stories. Lots of promiment Marketing types like Hugh and Seth, have discussed this concept recently. I think Geek Squad has that ability. They have created this “geek mystique” that resonates with the masses of people who know they are not as technically savvy as some folks (like the geeks). With their SecondLife marketing, they carry this “story” forward:
“While this announcement is expected to help Geek Squad’s customers by offering an extension of Geek Squad’s 24-hour service, it is also expected to cut further into its Agents’ already meager social lives.”
“I’m constantly asked about what it is that Geek Squad Agents do in their free time,” said Robert Stephens, founder and Chief Inspector of Geek Squad. “While it used to be a pretty clean mix — divided between poring over computer manuals and sleep — we’ve seen the balance shift in recent years to poring over computer manuals and immersion in digital worlds like multiplayer online games and environments like Second Life.”
Sure, most Geeks have probably never even been to SecondLife, but the story that has been build around the “Geek” makes it easily believable. It makes sense that “geeks” would be out on the technology edge. Contrast that with firedog which uses the metaphor of man’s best friend to represent the brand. The big word here is “Loyal”, but there are a whole series of other words that are used to describe what “what makes a firedog a “firedog” including “Tidy”, “Real”, “Grounded”, and “Fresh”.
The problem is that these are just words. They don’t really tell a story. They don’t say “these guys live for the technology problems that drive you crazy”. There is no “mystique”, no story about who these guys are and why you should use them. It’s simply not as engaging as the “Geek Mystique”.
I’ll probably get some serious grief from my Circuit City family for this post, but I have to call it as I see it.
What do you think?
Most people don’t know what SecondLife is, but many of them got a glimpse of it if they were watching the the pre-game show yesterday. The crew over at Electric Sheep produced the machinima spot for the CBS series Two and a Half Men.
The YouTube link is below if you want to check it out.
On January 1, the massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) “World of Warcraft” released a major new upgrade. The 3D Virtual World game has over 7 Million subscribers worldwide who shell out a monthly fee to play the game. In addition, the community of WoW players has created a thriving marketplace for virtual goods on eBay, where virtual weapons, attire and characters have been selling for real cash. While there is no universally agreed-upon value for “Real-Money Trades” (RMTs) market, it is assumed to be worth somewhere between $250 million and $880 million a year, according to experts.
eBay, which has dominated the market for these transactions has confirmed that they are now going to ban auctions for the characters, currency, weapons, attire and accounts of online games such as World of Warcraft, City of Heroes and others.
In most cases, publishers of online games include in their terms of service a prohibition on RMTs. Players who violate such rules can be banned. eBay’s move is a boon for companies like Internet Gaming Entertainment who now own the third party market. Julian Dibbell, author of Play Money: Or How I Quit My Day Job and Struck it Rich in Virtual Loot Farming commented that this development is “sad” because it restricts individuals from being direct participants in the markets themselves. I should note that SecondLife is not affected by this move since virtual goods in that realm are freely traded.
If I had to bet, I would expect that the community is not going to accept this change quitely. It’s in their nature to be active participants, to control the content, terms of service be damned. When it comes to digital content, be it a virtual tool, or a song from Tool, the community always finds a way to get what they want on their terms.
The article on CNET goes into more detail regarding the motivations behind eBay’s decision.
In case you haven’t see this, CBS will be joined by Sling Media and SecondLife in a presentation at CES today. I’ll update the post after the details are out.
UPDATE: So the keynote is over and here’s the skinny. For the past year of so, we’ve all been talking about “The New Media”, “Generation C(ontent)”, “Web twodotwhatever” and so on. We’ve also been saying that traditional media “doesn’t get it” or is no longer relevant.
Apparently good old CBS isn’t going to go away quitely. Instead, they have spent the last year developing lots of new partnerships with everyone from social networking sites for lesbians to SecondLife where a virtual replica of the Starship Enterprise (CBS property) will be made available to residents. Perhaps that’s a bit over the top, but this is afterall the age of “Individual and Interactive”. There is no niche too small (right longtailers?) and we all want to play a starring role.
In his keynote address, CBS President and CEO Leslie Moonves showed off quite a few of his new friends to demonstrate that CBS “gets it”.
“The symbiotic relationship (between online and television content) will only tighten,” Moonves said. “What’s a big media company like us to do? We’re embracing it big time. We’re doing just about everything we can to see what’s going to work now and in the future.” That often means bringing in people outside CBS to do so, he said.
The partnership with Sling media involves Sling’s latest technology called Clip + Sling. It allows users to clip content from live or recorded TV and share it with anyone, including non-Slingbox owners. The clip can be sent in an e-mail that plays the video from a hosted portal. It’s not exactly YouTube, so to cover all the bases, CBS also has a joint venture with Google’s latest toy in the form of a contest in which users submit 15-second videos to YouTube about anything they’d like. The highest-rated video will be broadcast on CBS during this year’s Superbowl.
The message from Moonves is that “there is no such thing as old media and new media. There’s just media.” Is this kind of media mash-up going to save the traditional guys from extinction? What do you think? While you ponder that, I think I’ll head over the the StarTrek sim in SecondLife. I hear there’s a helluva dance party going on in the shuttle craft bay 🙂
Chief Linden, Philip Rosedale said today that Linden Labs is going to make the core codebase for SecondLife available to developers. Considering that the contents of SecondLife has been developed entirely by user “residents” and the number of registered avatars has grown exponentially over the past year, the move to open source is a natural progression. After all, Linden has a limited number of developers and there is much work to be done to meet the needs of its growing population and to make the software more palatable for less powerful computers (like most of us have).
Given the growth of SecondLife, the vision my many in the software development community that a 3D web is the shape of things to come, and the success that other projects like Firefox and Linux have had using the community to build the code; this move is smart and should help keep things moving. It can also lead to some interesting new capabilities:
“There are lots of handicapped people using ‘Second Life,’ It’s one of the really inspiring things about it,” Rosedale said. “There are a lot of ways of connecting people to their computers, not just mice and keyboards but gaze detection and neuromuscular stuff” that Linden Lab doesn’t have the manpower to address, but he hopes outside programmers will.
Someone also could “hook up an exercise bike and fly around ‘Second Life’ while exercising,” he said, or write a program for accessing the world from a smart phone.
“All that becomes extremely easy to do,” said Rosedale, who will speak tomorrow at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
The details for the more technical readers out there, according to an AP report are as follows:
The code will be available under the GNU Public License, a widely used agreement among open-source developers that allows them to legally modify and share software. Linden Lab will review and test some add-ons, modifications and bug fixes, and incorporate them into the official version of the viewer, which can be downloaded for free.
Monday’s announcement doesn’t cover all the software behind “Second Life.” The program that controls the underlying infrastructure will remain proprietary, though Rosedale said open-source “is absolutely our direction.”
Fortune has an exclusive interview with Rosedale as well as comments from Electric Sheep, one of the largest in-world construction companies, and IBM who worked with my company, Circuit City, to open a virtual store in SecondLife. It’s worth the read.
“I’m sitting in the chic lobby of Aloft, the groundbreaking Starwood hotel that has opened in the virtual world long before one opens in the real world. I’m alone at the bar, last stool on the left. I’d order a drink, but there doesn’t seem to be a bartender on duty. I’d complain to the manager, but I can’t find her, either. In fact, there isn’t another soul in sight. No guests. No staff. It has been this way every time I’ve come for a visit.”
This is how Greg Verdino starts a really great article over at MarketingProfs.com sharing his insights on what big brand marketers are doing wrong in their approach to SecondLife. He offers a number of guiding principles for those looking to get into SL including:
- Be a Resident before trying to be a Marketer
- The practice of setting up dedicated islands doesn’t work
- The world is virtual but your expectations should be realistic
I highly recommend that you read Greg’s article here.
Greg Verdino is an expert on emerging media and new marketing; he blogs about them at his Greg Verdino 2.0 blog (gregverdino.typepad.com) and plies his trade as VP/Emerging Channels at DIGITAS.
It’s official. Time has named “You” as the person of the year. Good call. Time recognized what many of us already know: Millions of people have embraced the technology, personal media and the internet to create, co-create, share and produce content.
I look at my family as a really small microcosm of the phenomenon. We used to watch TV, network TV. Now, my 12 year old daughter creates websites and entertaining spaces on Disney’s Virtual Magic Kingdom. I joined with millions of others and began blogging this year. I also have embraced SecondLife.
It’s your new world. Have you jumped in?